Aiken, SC – A national civil rights activist worked to get more people to the polls. Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke to a group at USC Aiken just in time for the state’s election. Rev. Jackson’s stop is part of his “Rally 2 the Polls” tour. He comes just a few days before the deadline to register to vote in South Carolina’s Republican and Democratic primaries, which will both be the last two Saturdays next month.
“Keep hope alive. I will vote,” Jackson, who runs The Rainbow Push Coalition, chanted before speaking.
It’s the catch phrase we’ve been hearing for a long time. Rev. Jesse Jackson used it once more to galvanize a group at USC Aiken to make their voices hear on Election Day.
“If you’re 17 and you’ll be 18 by November of this year you can vote for president and for senator this year,” he reminded all.
The long-time political figure took the group back to the days of slavery and reminded them of the work that’s been done by blacks that should encourage them to vote. He also spoke about the economic gains South Carolina has made with being one of the largest tire producers in the world, but said there is more work to do to increase jobs.
“Why should I pay federal taxes in Illinois and have Medicaid and you pay taxes in South Carolina and not have Medicaid. What would Medicaid expansion mean in South Carolina? 60,000 jobs,” he said.
He stressed that voting can change what people need, but they have to vote on hope, not fear.
“They said a 1,200,000 blacks are eligible to vote. 900 thousand are registered. 200 thousand aren’t registered. Some of them are in this room. We’re going to change that today,” he declared.
Keeping his word, Jackson called all non-registered voters to the stage and handed them a voter registration application.
He added, “The last day in South Carolina for voter registration is January 20 for the spring election.”
Jackson, who said he was not a conservative during the speech, did not mention if he planned to endorse any of the presidential candidates.